Melbourne City Council Tracks its Car Fleet

The Melbourne City Council is the local Government body responsible for the administration of one of Australia’s fastest growing cities.

The City of Melbourne has more than 13,000 businesses operating within its boundaries and accommodates for more than 700,000 visitors daily.

The Melbourne City Council is fundamentally committed to achieving best operational practise in all areas of their business, with a strong emphasis on doing so in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Melbourne City Council operates a fleet of vehicles which are utilised by a range of their employees for short term travel.

The council came to a decision that the previous manual logging of the movement and location of the entire fleet of vehicles was both time consuming and inefficient.

In partnership with Gamma Solutions, specialists in data capture hardware / software and implementations involving a range of wireless infrastructure, the Melbourne City Council investigated the implementation of a fully automated system to replace the old manual process.

“The City of Melbourne has been using RFID technology for nearly 12 months to automate data collection for vehicle usage from its corporate car park,” explains Councilor Brian Shanahan, Chair of the Finance and Governance Committee at the City of Melbourne.

“The RFID system provides accurate data collection of each vehicle departing and entering the car park enabling Council to do away with manual records for asset management keeping.”

Melbourne City Council has worked previously in partnership with Gamma Solutions using Intermec portable printers supplied by Gamma Solutions for their ticket inspectors.

When the Melbourne City Council decided to upgrade its logging system Gamma Solutions was an obvious choice due to the ongoing relationship the companies share and Gamma Solutions’ reputation as a leading provider of wireless data solutions.

“To date the manual system of logging vehicles is both unreliable and fairly inconsistent,” says Clem Valdez, Technical Services at Gamma Solutions.

“By implementing the RFID solution, Melbourne City Council hopes to increase its efficiency and data integrity within the Corporate Transport Office.”

Among the staff members who will be using this new automated system, will be members of the Melbourne City Council Corporate Transport Office.

The process of individually logging each vehicle is now replaced by an automated system, saving time and improving overall worker efficiency.

The logging of the vehicles is now automated with the Gamma Solutions RFID technology creating a database of vehicles logged during each day.

This database is currently manually uploaded to the Melbourne City Council server by personnel.

The initial testing and pilot phase has been in progress since June 1 2007.

The second stage of the project, which involves the integrating of the new RFID system with the current Staff ID manual logging system, will go for a period of time which has yet to be determined.

The final stage of the project will see the RFID, Staff ID and security gates fully integrated and will mark the completion of the project.

Importantly, Melbourne City Council’s RFID application deliveres a clear return on investment, as Councilor Brian Shanahan explains.

“The RFID technology has resulted in significant productivity gains for fleet management services while return on investment is immediate,” he says.

“One of the primary pieces of technology being utilised in the Melbourne city council is the Intermec IF5 Fixed RFID Reader.”

“The Intermec IF5 is a fixed smart reader that filters a range of information from tags, monitors external sensors and controls audible.”

“It manages to do all this without the added expense of a separate server “box”, required by the majority of other RFID scanning solutions.”

“Before the installation of the RFID program, the entire process of logging vehicles was done manually using a pen and paper.”

“This proved to be both a costly and inefficient exercise, it also proved to be not sustainable for the council.”

“With the automated system now in place at the Melbourne City Council, a sharp decrease in the amount of wasted paper and other materials has been experienced,” Shanahan says.

The RFID solution has provided an accurate accounting of the vehicles to and from the Melbourne City Council premises.

It is expected that over a period of time the RFID solution will enable the Corporate Transport Office to have full visibility of their entire short term transport fleet and have reliable immediate information on hand.

The ongoing assistance provided by Gamma Solutions allowed the Melbourne City Council to continue their day to day normal business activities with as little disruption to duties as possible during the projects implementation.

“Gamma Solutions was able to provide an end to end solution with the supply of the relevant hardware and software,” says Clem Valdez.

“With qualified RFID specialists the system was designed as to allow for minimal impact to the day to day operations of the business during the various implementation stages.”

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